Why We Spell Our Surname as Elcik

Why We Spell Our Surname as ElcikJim & Jeff,

I realized after the last message that there is a follow-up to the story in why today we spell our name “Elcik.”

If we look at the history of usage based on the United States Federal Census data, we learn:

  • Our surname in 1910 was recorded as “Elsik” while Jr. and the rest of the family as “Elcik.” Given that both names are in the Census, I believe that “Elsik” is the name to be researched in Austria/Hungary.
  • In 1920 Jr. and our family had the surname recorded as “Elcih.” This Census seems most likely to be a spelling error.
  • Then, in 1930 and 1940, John Elcik, III, and his family had the surname recorded as Elick”. Census data in two periods suggests that “Elick” was actually in use. This Census, of course, predates our birth.

Today the surname as used is “Elcik.”

It looks like our Dad over several decades used “Elick” as our surname, but with our generation, he and we have gone back to our roots by using “Elcik.” Recall that I said the “Elick” spelling is recorded for Dad’s siblings: Madelyn, Gertrude, Mary, Richard, and Elinor. It was also of interest to me that “Madelyn” and “Elinor” eventually become “Madeline” and “Eleanor,” respectively. When names change over time, it becomes increasingly difficult to be sure you record the data correctly.

One final mystery. Until I got the dates right, John Elcik, who was born in 1886, was incorrectly (or at least prematurely) finding his way onto our tree. [It is premature as DNA testing later reveals. – Editor]

First, we know John P Elcik, Jr. was born in 1896. I doubt as a 10-year-old, he fathered a child. I solved the mystery with data from the 1910 United States Census. Both the “Elsik” and the “Elcik” surnames are reported in 1910 by the same household. Someday we may find that the Elcik born in 1886 is related. To solve the mystery, we need access to records in Austria/Hungary. Meanwhile, I have seen some of his relatives in Maine, Ohio, and New York. Their existence complicated my research.

Finally, one other surname has been a source of frustration. Identifying John “Elsik’s” wife Mary Pelcarskey also as “Maria Ilcik” was another mystery solved.

Inquiring minds wanted to know why we spell our surname “Elcik.” So, as Paul Harvey used to say, “That is the rest of the story.”

John Paul Elcik, IV

P.S. All this research and I can’t answer for the way we pronounce “Elcik” as “El-check.” I do vaguely recall having uttered it “El-sick” when I was young. I also remember saying, “check, like in Czechoslovakia.”  Could kids in school have been bullying us? Maybe.